Safety

Spring Check-up For Your Equipment and Shop

Everyone is slow this time of year, and its a good time to go through your grooming equipment and shop equipment. This is the calm before the storm, the snowbirds are coming back and usually their pets are a mess, so our equipment has to be ready.

  • Blades – Even though your blades are cutting now, they may give out later. If you can afford it, get all your 7’s and 10’s sharpened now. Go through your drawers in the shop and look for blades you may have thrown in them for some reason or another, if they are still good get them sharpened. Start oiling them and washing them in blade wash to keep them cutting longer.
  • Clippers – Check every clipper you have for broken cords, worn hinges, and change the blade drive. Check all the screws to make sure they are tight. Now is the time to get them serviced so they don’t quit during shavedown. And don’t try to groom having  only one clipper, you need a backup. The money you loose because you can’t work may buy several clippers.
  • Shears – Same thing. If you can afford it, get them sharpened now. If you start a process of wiping them down and lubing them every night the edge will last longer. Scissor lube is very important, it lubes the pivot of your shears, and it also protects the screw so it doesnt start rusting and loosening up all the time. Shears will rust if you don’t wipe them down. You can get scissor lube from any grooming catalogue, or any beauty supply store.
  • Dryers – Some  groomers dont know how to maintain dryers properly. Dryers need to be cleaned out weekly and sometimes daily. Take the filters out and clean them by blowing them out with a second dryer, or washing the filter in warm soapy water and let dry overnight.  Another thing you can do to prevent the fusable link on the switch is to blow the dryer out. If its a canister dryer, you can take the front and back off and blow the hair out with a second dryer or an air hose. When too much hair accumulates on the inside of a dryer, the motors overheat and blow the fuse on the switch. Happened to me many times before I got smart and started to clean them out. Carbons should be changed yearly. I change them every spring whether they need it or not. Its simple to do if you follow the directions in your manual.
  • Bathing Room – This is usually a mess when I start on it. First I gather up all the nooses and get rid of the broken ones. Next, I go through the towels and toss the ones with holes or are all frayed up. We got our towels used from hospitals, yard sales, GoodWill, and flea markets.  Soaps and mixing bottles are next. I get rid of bad mixing bottles that lost their marks, and I combine soaps of the same kind so I can order new supplies. Check the tubs for leaks, and make sure the hair filters are good and still able to catch the hair. If your using fiberglass tub inserts for a bathing tub, check the bottom of the tub with your fingers and feel for holes caused by nail scratches. You can pick up fiberglass patches from a home improvement store. Fix them while they’re small or you’ll be replacing the tub.
  • Drawers & Cabinets – If you have any drawers or cabinets in your shop go through everyone and throw out stuff thats broken or unusable. If you have a box of clippers your saving for parts, remember that if they sit around in that humid environment for a year or two they may not run anymore. Moisture will ruin the armature, but cords and body parts should be OK.
  • Card Files – Most of us have regular customers that come routinely, so a large card file may be OK. If you have a big shop with multiple groomers you may want to go through the card file and see if the cards are current. If they haven’t been back in two or more years you may want to move that card out of your active files. We did that one year and got rid of 300 cards, some haven’t been back in over 5 years. A card file does need cleaned up once in a while. You can also make cold calls on the cards that are non- active and try to get their business back.
  • Mobile Groomers – You basically have the same chores to do but at a smaller scale. Vehicle maintenance, and generator maintenance are the big concerns for you. Time now to get everything checked before you get real busy.

I just wanted to get everyone aware of some things you can do to get you and your shop ready for spring and summer. You can use this list again after the kids go back to school this fall to get ready for the Christmas rush. Being proactive with your equipment and shop could prevent surprizes and untimely bills.

Hope this can help somebody. Be safe, and remember to read those labels.

Jeff

 


The Three Daily Goals Of A Pet Groomer

To be successful in this business doesn’t depend on your knowledge of grooming or the equipment you use, it actually depends on some very basic goals you accomplish every day. My grooming instructor over 30 years ago covered these goals with us and I think about them from time to time in my own shop. They are simple goals such as “Make Money”, “Customer Perspective”, and “Safety”. Three little goals that pass through our minds everyday, but we never really think about how much they impact every day we work.

Make Money

We all know making money is what we get into this business for in the first place, but how we make money is important. You make money several different ways like “Saving Money”, trying to get the best deals on products you use like soaps, conditioners, the products your shop runs on every day. Careing for your equipment, doing some of the repair work yourself as opposed to paying a sharpener to fix stuff for you. Compulsive spending is the biggest thing you have to watch. Do you really need that pair of shears everyone is talking about? If you can curb compulsive spending you will see a huge increase in your net income. Watching your utilities like electricity, are you running dryers longer than needed? Air conditioning set too low? The little things add up at the end of the month. We all charge a fair price for our grooms for the areas we work in, but being frugal in our spending, our payroll, and our operating costs can make us additional money by actually saving it.

Customer Perspective

This is the most important of the three goals, this can actually make or break you in this business. Customer perspective has three parts in it as well, your customer has to have a good perspective of “Your Work”, Your Shop”, and most importantly “YOU”. You can be the best groomer in the world and not be successful. Customer perspective of your work doesn’t include how perfect the groom is, but does mean “Did you do what the customer asked for?”. Sometimes you have to leave your idea of how a groom should be to the side and “Do exactly what the customer wants you to do”. Making your customer happy is the goal, even if the groom looks stupid to you, it made your customer happy and they will be back. Customer perspective of your shop is important also because they are leaving their “child” with you. Is your shop clean, uncluttered, can a customer sense danger in your shop? Does your shop smell clean or can you smell the cages in the parking lot? A good shop can bring customers back just for that reason alone regardless of the groom. Finally, your customers perspective of YOU. Do you treat the pets nice and not yell at them all the time. Pets sense this and sometimes act like they don’t want to come into your shop. Are you a pleasant natured person, or do you let things get to you all the time? Do you carry an attitude all day if something happened or something is bothering you? If a customer senses animosity in any form to them or their pet, they may take it personally and never come back. A good example of displaying animosity in the shop is when a customer comes early for a pickup and the pet isn’t done yet. Its very easy to make that person feel bad for coming early and you don’t even know your doing it. One time can change that customers perspective of you forever. So try to be happy if you can, it can be profitable for you.

Safety

When we think of safety, we think since no one got bit, and no pet got hurt, its good. Thats not all, we have to go further and think of other things like controlling “unsafe acts” and “near misses”. A grooming shop is a haven for near misses and unsafe acts because its the most aggressive form of hair care in the world. Our clientel just doesn’t come in and sit down, we have to fight them sometimes to get them in the tub and washed. If you really think about it, there are things you do every day that can actually injure you with no real fault of your own. Near misses are accidents that almost happened but didn’t, and most of these can be prevented from turning into a real accident that could injure you. A good one that comes to mind is when your getting a wet dog out of the tub and your feet slip alittle while your getting it over to the drying table. You didn’t slip and fall with the dog and hurt either of you, but the potential was there for some serious injury. To prevent the near miss in this situation would be to have the floor dry, or put some sort of non-slip media on the floor to prevent slipping. Just think about the near misses you’ve had in your shop and what you can do to prevent them. An unsafe act is something you do that you know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway for some reason. We have all done stupid things that we shouldn’t have done and got away with it. But remember this, Mr Murphy (Murphys Law) walks back and forth in front of our grooming shop everyday, we don’t want him knocking on the door. Please, don’t be unsafe by cutting corners, not following directions, and worse yet doing something completely stupid, its not worth it in the long run. You are in control of 90% of what happens in the shop, so use that control to be safe, and you and your clients will go home every night un-injured.

Now that you've read these goals, think how or if they can apply to you and your business. They can help.

Be safe, read those labels, and have a great day grooming!

Jeff


New diamond carbide nail grinding wheel makes cardboard wheels obsolete.

Wheels 2

Introducing the last nail grinding wheel you will buy for a while.

 This is a diamond impregnated carbide wheel that replaces the paper wheels your putting on your Dremmel to grind nails. It fits on the mandrel your currently using on your Dremmel, and they don’t break apart. This wheel is washable, and you can grind nails right in the tub to keep the dust down when the nails are softer. You can use it on dogs, cats, horses, any reptile, and even birds. One unique thing about this wheel is, if the nail has rough edges after clipping, this wheel wont splinter the nail like the paper wheels do sometimes. It leaves a very smooth finish without the vibration the paper wheels are known to do that scares the animal. There is no sand to come off in your face, and they won't bust apart on big dog nails. This is the perfect wheel if your grinding cat nails. When the paws are went or covered with snow, thats not a problem. This wheel will grind nails with the pads wet or dry because water actually helps the grinding. Since they are metal, they can get warm doing big dogs. To cool, just turn the Dremmel off and stick the wheel right in a glass of water, try that with paper wheels.

Its not as expensive as you might think when you compare the wheels you use now and the time they break apart when your doing a nail. This wheel has been going over a year in our shop, and we clean it regularly. Just hold the wheel under a small stream of water in the sink and scrub with a toothbrush.

I've sold hundreds of these wheels on Facebook, my website, and while sharpening my customers all along the Gulf Coast. No one will ever use a paper wheel again, this product is that good! You can buy these wheels in a couple places. The Barter Page (pet grooming) on Facebook, my sales website, and several mobile sharpeners have them as well

The going price for this wheel is $20, and that includes the mandrel. Its always good to have an extra mandrel, I've bent a few from having the Dremmel kicked out of my hand. If you add up all the wheels you use in a year you would be shocked, close to $100 in most cases. And when your out of them, they are hard to find because other groomers in the area are looking for them as well. You can have a wheel that won't wear out, bust apart, or throw sand in your eyes anymore.

For information, you can go to my product sales website       www.ntforsale.biz

Have a great day grooming, and most of all, read those labels and product manuals.

Jeff


Why do switches on clippers go bad and/or burn up?

Switches have been upgraded from a simple toggle switch, to switches that regulate voltages and have circuit boards that are fragile.

Look at the old Oster switch of yester year, it was simple. The voltage came in at 115 volts AC, and you turned the clipper on with a simple toggle switch. The clipper came on and you were grooming.

Oster switch

 The Oster switch above was simple, you could leave it plugged in all the time with no worries of voltage surges. We used to hook boosters upto our Oster clippers and make them run faster, some of you remember these days. And if the clipper didn't run hot enough to burn the palm of your hand, you thought it wasn't running good and needed repair. Those were the days!

The Changes in the clippers today!

Today, its a whole new ballgame. Clippers don't run on normal house current anymore, most run on DC voltage and its converted right in the clipper with circuit boards on the switch.

Andis switches

As you can see by this collection of Andis switches, they consist mainly of circuit boards and wires. They take normal house current and convert it to DC voltage so the motor runs with more torque and more efficiently. All brands of clippers have circuit boards now so you can't get away from them. They can last forever, but fail if certain criteria are met. Let's look at this criteria.

Why clipper switches with circuit boards fail?

1. Dropping the clipper.

No matter what clipper you have you can crack a circuit board by dropping it on the floor. The boards are actually fragile, and can do wierd things when cracked. They can let the clipper run good until you shut if off, then it wont come on. If you break a certian capacitor off the board (Andis), you will only have the low speed. The high speed is controlled electronically with this capacitor. Some of you think its a battery when you hear something rattling around inside the clipper.

2. Voltage spikes or irregularities.

All switches have an incoming voltage range they operate successfully in, the norm is about 112 volts to 125 volts AC. Above or below this voltage range can burn up components on the switch circuit board. Here is a big example: Your clipper is plugged into the same line your dryers are plugged into. Not the same recepticle, but the same line hooked up to the same circuit breaker in your electric box. When you turn a dryer on, it uses about 20 amps to start the motor, then drops back to its operating amps of about 10-15 amps. Bigger the dryer, the more amps it takes to start. The problem is when the dryer amprage falls back from 20 amps at startup, to 10 amps running, it throws a little spike in the electricity. This spike can be 120 volts AC,  or 130 volts AC (we don't know). This little spike is what blows resistors on your switches circuit board. The resistors can take alot of punishment, but one day they won't and thats when it blows. Your clipper will probably run until you shut it off. This doesn't happen all the time, but it can.

Low voltage is just as bad on switches. A customer of mine who is a mobile groomer had problems with switches failing monthly. Her unit ran off a generator, and she had a large dryer plus an air conditioner running all the time. When she used her clipper, she said it ran slower than when she used it in the house. This is another bad thing. The circuit board has resistors that can blow if the voltage is on the low side 105 volts to 112volts AC. The switch trys to compensate the DC voltage its trying to put out that runs the clipper, and it just fails. I suggested a Universal Power Supply (UPS) so she could plug just her clipper into it. The UPS system has batteries inside that raise the voltage to 115 volts AC when its low, and cuts off the peaks when the voltage gets above 122 volts AC coming into the unit. She never had a problem with switches after that.

3. Lightning, plus surges and brownouts from your electric company.

We all know lightning can burn up about anything when it strikes, but it can also produce small surges that the electric company can't ground out before it reaches your clipper. In my shop one night we had a storm with lightning, and when we came in the next day a clipper smelled like it was burning when we turned it on. A surge had come into the shops electric line and went through the switch of the clipper and melted some windings in the armature. How that happed I can't figure out without blowing the switch in the process, but it did. I replaced the aramature and the problem was fixed, and the switch is still working good. Leaving clippers plugged into the wall overnight can have problems the next day from spikes or brownouts in the line. Even though the clipper is turned off, voltage can jump that brass slide switch and do harm to the components of that switch. We use a power strip now with a surge protector on it ($13.00 at home depot). The surge protector will blow if something comes in the line, and this disconnects any power to the recepticles of the power strip. Its worth looking into.

My suggestions to help keep your clippers running.

A. Get and use a power strip with a surge protector.If you don't know, or your not sure the status of the electrical outlets, and what circuit breaker is controlling what, get one. Corporate grooming salons have problems because they build the store first, then put the salon in a corner where they have room left. The electric circuits are already laid down and won't be changed. So if the outlets in the grooming salon are on the same circuits as the dryers in the back, you may have problems. Even in your own shop, if the clipper is changing speeds when you turn a dryer on, it can help and so could a UPS. And when you go home just turn the strip off to keep surges from the electric company doing any damage if you shut the strip off. I'd even put your shop refrigerator on a strip because the compressor can fry if a surge comes in.

B. If your mobile, get a UPS system. All generators have different voltage outputs, don't assume its perfect 115 volts AC. In my mobile sharpening unit I have a small volt meter on both the incoming voltage from the generator, and one on the output voltage of the UPS. And there is a BIG difference!! My blade machine takes 15 amps to start, and with my air running it will make the UPS beep. When this happened I got a larger generator so it wouldn't drop power so bad. As a mobile groomer you may have the same problems. If you turn your air on, then your dryer, maybe a clipper vac, and your UPS keeps beeping, your generator isn't large enough. Your UPS is telling you the voltage is too low and it will compensate until the batteries it go dead.

**** While Im on the subject of generators for mobile groomers I'll give you an example that happened to a local mobile groomer who had these problems. It's a guy, and when he got his unit it came with a generator in the back. The unit came with a Handy Vac, a HV dryer, and the unit had a Coleman top mouted air conditioner. He did get a UPS because he did his invoicing with a laptop computer, and that was a very smart move. When he turned the HV on, or the Vac system on with the air running the UPS would beep one time. This is normal I told him, mine did it as well. Thenhe bought an 850 Double K dryer so he could get faster and do more dogs per day. When he turned that thing on the UPS system started to beep and kept on beeping until he either turned the vac or the air off. I don't know the size of the onboard generator but it needed to be replaced if he kept the 850 in line. His unit was a trailer and he pulled it with a truck.

The very next time I was there sharpening we talked about generators and I told him about my problem and new generator that was in the back of my truck. He wanted to test my generator because he seen what I had running inside so we did. When I shut down, he ran a cord over to my generator, and he started all his equipment in his trailer. He was shutting down things and started them back up and his UPS never made a sound!!!!  So he went to Lowes and bought the Troy-Built 7000 XP which has 15,000 watts of cranking power. He set it in the back of his truck like I did and everything has been fine. The generator cost about $850, so not a bad deal and Lowes are everywhere. I think with an "all-in-one" unit your limited on generator space, so you have to contact your dealer for a more powerfull powersource. Enough on generators *****

C. Try not to drop your clipper.The hardest thing to do is NOT set your clippers on your table under a dog, I know this too well! The most innocent dog can accidently kick your clipper and you have a 50/50 chance of it working properly when you pick it up off the floor. Its a lifestyle change to remember to not do that, and here is what I did because I had room. I set up a little stand next to the table that held the blades I was using, oil, scissors, and a small bowl of bladewash. The first week I had to think every time I set the clipper down to actually put it on that stand. It took about a month to curb my habit, but now if I work in the shop the first thing I do is locate that stand. I don't groom without it, and its my suggestion to you if you can try that. It costs money to fix clippers and scissors, so a little prevention can really help.

Thats my take on the subject of clipper failure. I know it was long, but again my audience is not only groomers, but sharpeners as well. I get alot of phone calls about this subject and most are from sharpeners who really don't know why clippers do what they do, they just fix them. So if this information can help their clients as well as groomers who read this, its a win/win all around. NOTE: The voltages I described in the text came from several different places in my research. They all listed different voltages for the same components so I just took an approximate. They may be a little off, but my intent was the meaning behind them and the points I was trying to get across, so excuse me on that.

I hope you all have great days grooming, and read those labels